Liverpool Irish Festival coincides with half term in Liverpool this year, and there’s plenty to do with families this year. It’s the 60th birthday of Liverpool Comhaltas, celebrating Irish culture and heritage, there’s films, the annual family day at the museum, children’s author Carmel Kelly, a special family weekend and, of course, the rip-roaring Liverpool Irish Festival family ceilidh.
The Secret of Kells: Empty Spaces Cinema
25 Oct, 2pm-3.30pm, Handyman Supermarket, 461 Smithdown Road, £4/£3
The Secret of Kells (Cert PG, 78mins) is an animated fantasy film in which magic and Celtic mythology come together in a riot of colour and detail that dazzle the eyes.
It is a sweeping story about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times. Directed by Tomm Moore (Newry, NI) and Nora Twomey (Cork, ROI). Join Empty Spaces Cinema at The Handyman Supermarket for a pop-up film festival celebrating Irish cinema with a mixture of movies that look at Irish life.
Family Day at the Museum
28 Oct, 10am-5pm, Museum of Liverpool, FREE
Celebrate the Liverpool Irish Festival with family and friends in a day incorporating music, talks and activities for everyone to enjoy, across the day. Delivered in partnership with National Museums Liverpool, with contributions from Liverpool Comhaltas (celebrating their 60th anniversary) Melody Makers and the Institute of Irish Studies at University of Liverpool this is a true highlight of the festival, where culture sharing, enjoyment and conviviality are at the centre of all we do.
Across the day, there will be various activities, including: Carmel Uí Cheallaigh/Kelly (Galway, ROI) reading from her Gaelic and English children’s books in the morning; Liverpool artist Alison Little will run mask making workshops throughout the day; Pop-up Gaeltacht is an informal affair, where an Irish language speaker will be present in order that anyone wishing to share a few words (cúpla focal) of Gaelic can and is welcomed to do so. @PopUpGael. It also forms part of a wider Family Weekend programme, which includes a Children’s Hour with Carmel Kelly and a Family Céilí.
Liverpool Comhaltas and Liverpool Céilí Band evening
28 Oct, 7.30pm, music from 8pm, Liverpool Irish Centre, FREE
Join Liverpool Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the Liverpool Céilí Band in celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of Comhaltas in Liverpool. Entertainment by Liverpool Comhaltas musicians – past and present – as well as some special guests.
Children’s Hour with Carmel Kelly
29 Oct, 10.30am-11.30am, Liverpool Central Library, FREE
Carmel Uí Cheallaigh/Kelly (Galway, ROI) is a children’s author and picture book creator, writing in Gaelic and English. Her motto is “Picture books are for everyone”.
A librarian herself, Carmel’s early works are an introduction to Gaelic for the young. Working with inspiring illustrators, they brings words to life on the page. This is an opportunity to hear her breathe life into the words of books such as Goldilocks and the Three Pigs to Hallowe’en favourite Spidey.
Family céilí and Comhaltas’s 60th celebrations
29 Oct, 2pm-5pm, Liverpool Irish Centre, £5/£2
The Family Céilí is one of the most popular family events at the Liverpool Irish Festival and this year returns, at a new location which welcomes families to join Liverpool Comhaltas in the spiritual home of the Irish community on Merseyside, the Liverpool Irish Centre (6 Boundary Lane, Liverpool L6 5JG). Bring family, friends and your dancing feet to join the fun and have a go a learning some Irish céilí dances, complete with live music from Liverpool Comhaltas. No previous experience is necessary as full instructions will be given, from a great dance caller.
Finns Hotel Ceilidh Band: Fundraising dance
3 Nov, 7.30pm-11.30pm, £5, Ullet Road Unitarian Church
Finns Hotel Ceilidh Band will play – for one night only – fundraising for Irish Community Care. Finns Hotel is a long established, but recently dormant, ceilidh band which started during the miner’s strike in the 1980s.
Irish Community Care works across the Liverpool City Region; in Cheshire and Wigan and Greater Manchester, too. Irish Community Care supports Irish and Irish Traveller people through times of uncertainty, trouble, hardship or isolation. We make sure people have a decent place to live and are safe and well. We ensure that they settle well in the community, whether as new arrivals in the country/area or from prison release, maximising their income through training, employment and welfare benefit entitlement and helping them to feel part of and connected to local communities.
All money raised will contribute to this much needed work.